I was busily working on a schooner of Dogbladder at the Marly when I got a desperate text message from Strop: ‘I’m here already but there’s no beer and no toilets.’ Just another fast food crisis on Kings Street. This is the cost of thoroughness, and our failure to instigate the No Plates-No Deal rule in time. Oh well, the lack of toilets and alcohol are both good excuses for not staying long.
It’s just the two of us tonight, strangely no one else was keen on joining in this one. Which is a pity because the burgers aren’t at all bad.
Burger Fuel is a New Zealand franchise that seems to have plans to take over the world. So far these uppity Kiwis have confined most of their efforts to the Middle East – this is the only outlet in Sydney. The place is very crisp and bright, straight out of the convenience-store school of mood lighting. Stainless steel and lacquered pine are used on the surfaces, and there are vinyl banquette seats, in a colour that used to be known as baby-shit brown. This characterless but functional decor is overlaid with a perfunctory attempt at quirky humour, in the form of a mural (a death’s head labelled ‘born to grill’) and a strange light fitting made out of washers and spark-plugs. There are video screens as well, a deplorable but growing trend in King Street eateries. One screen is advertising specials, and the other seems to be showing a kind of Youtube loop featuring cute furry animals being cute, and hapless young men falling off things. I am quite disappointed that there are no bikini-clad women firing AK47s though. The sound track is loud and of the doof-doof baseline variety. I don’t think Strop and I are the target demographic of this franchise – but then that applies to the whole of King Street really.
The menu on the illuminated board above the counter makes gratuitous use of the word gourmet to distinguish between the various categories. 100%-pure-NZ-grass-fed-beef and fresh-natural-BF-aioli feature heavily, and silly names have been fully deployed to label the burgers in a further attempt at quirkiness.
I am about to lock in the Bastard Burger on the basis of the name alone, until a perusal of the fine print reveals that it features mango. I’m sorry, tinned mango? I don’t think so. Instead I go for the Peanut Piston (defining ingredient: satay sauce) and Strop chooses the Ford Freakout (avocado). In the interests of thoroughness we upgrade to the meal-deal which adds a can of soft drink, a packet of chips and a little tub of aioli. Mayonnaise and garlic, is that the same as aioli? It goes well with chips anyway. Service is prompt and we are soon presented with a tray loaded with paper bags and cardboard containers. And the burgers aren’t bad. And the chips are good (especially with a gleaming gob of aioli resting on the end). On a previous visit I had tried the Ring Burner (chilli), which I also enjoyed. I don’t think they are quite as good as the burgers we had at the Marly but they are pretty good.
By the time we leave the place is full. A crowd that looks and sound as if it is predominantly Kiwi. Out for a taste of their native quirky humour and grass-fed cuisine, no doubt. Meanwhile, we are on our way home for a serving of Broadchurch and a sizeable glass of Highland Park.